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A group of five American college friends travel to Ireland for a backwoods camping trip to sample the local hallucinogenic mushrooms. Their guide Jake (Jack Huston) takes them in the woods to harvest what they came for and later that night tells them a campfire story of a cruel religious sect called The Black Brothers and a massacre they were involved in, in a nearby monastery. He tells them ingesting dangerous mushrooms were the cause of the killings and the only two survivors were a burned young boy and the most heinous of the monks. These two are said to even today haunt the surrounding woods. The more the mushrooms take effect, the more the story begins to impact them. To make matters worse, Tara (Lindsey Haun) has accidentally ingested one of those dangerous mushrooms and begins to see visions of horrible fates befalling her friends…or are they premonitions of what is yet to come? Is it all hallucination, or is there something sinister lurking in the surrounding countryside?
Irish horror is written by Pearse Elliot and directed by Paddy Breathnach and has a good time with having it’s cast stoned and thus not sure what they are seeing or hearing is real…which translates to the audience. It also has fun with Tara seeing horrible things that may…or may not…be coming to pass and having her frantic over trying to prevent her friends’ possible fates. It’s not a great movie and isn’t exactly overly suspenseful or intense, but it does have a good time with it’s premise. Breathnach has a nice visual eye and uses some varied digital effects to portray the constant hallucinogenic state of our six characters. There is some decent bloodshed…or is there?…and if the film really falters is that you can easily guess the big reveal long before the climax. Other than that, it is an amusing enough slasher where it takes a while to find out if any of the slashing is really occurring and if so, who or what is responsible. On a production level, the film looks good under Nanu Segal’s lens, the score by Dario Marianelli is suiting and the locations and well-rendered FX help enhance the atmosphere of the moody Irish backwoods setting. Not a classic, but an enjoyable horror flick with an amusing stoner twist.
The cast are all adequate. Girl-next-door type Lindsay Haun makes a cute and suitable leading lady. She conveys well the confusion and horror of a women who is having terrible visions pertaining to her friends and is trying to prevent them from coming to pass. As the Irish guide and Tara’s love interest, Jack Huston has some charisma though his thick accent isn’t always clearly understandable. The supporting players are all adequate as stereotypical American college characters with Robert Hoffman as the obnoxious and loud, Bluto (an Animal House reference?), Alice Greczyn as the hippie chick, Holly, Max Kasch as the stoner, Troy and Maya Hazen as the party girl, Lisa.
Overall, this is an enjoyable enough flick. It takes the ‘Americans in a strange land finding peril’ scenario and adds a hallucinogenic twist to keep us guessing as to if what we see happening is real or not. Our characters also are having trouble discerning hallucination from reality and that’s fun too. There is some some decent bloodshed and if anything really takes this down a few pegs, it’s that we can see the big reveal coming a mile away. An amusing Irish horror.
3 psilocybin mushrooms.